Leaders and representatives of the Acjachemen, Tongva, Chumash, and the Tataviam Nations stand with Archbishop Gomez in West Los Angeles, California, March 28, 2018 (Photo credit: Victor Alemán/Angelus News).
On March 28, 2018, Tribal President Rudy J. Ortega Jr. (far right – above photo), on behalf the Tribe, signed the Statement of Native American Protocol for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Leaders and representatives of the Chumash, Tongva, and Acjachemen Nations (above photo) were also present and signatories to the protocols, facilitated by Sylvia Salazar, Coordinator for the Office of Native American Concerns Ministry.
Tribal President Ortega Jr. shared his sentiments, which included a brief depiction of the tense relationship between the Tribe and Mission San Fernando Rey today. At present, there is minimal historical information on mission grounds about the Native American ancestors who helped build, and who perished and survived the mission system, and absolutely no contemporary information on who their descendants are today.
“There’s one little marker that states the village name, and that’s it,” Ortega Jr. shared. “But it’s great to hear my [Native American] relatives across Nations can return to their missions to host celebrations. For us – in San Fernando- we’re still considered trespassers.”
The 17 new protocols outline a variety of ways the Catholic Church in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties can ensure that “indigenous traditional perspectives” are respected and integrated by its institutions and facilities.